Sunday, December 28, 2014

Journey through 2014

Wow, hard to believe 2014 is almost over and we're ready to embrace 2015.  Last year I wrote a blog post, Oh the Difference a Year Makes, and it was a great experience for me, to remember how much Kiddo progressed, and the obstacles we faced in 2013.  At the beginning of 2013 he had three words, and by December he had about 300!  So, to see the journey of 2014 with it's victories and setbacks, I present:

2014 in review:

January:  Kiddo started preschool, which he loved.  He was FINALLY able to climb up those play places they have at McDonald, Chick-fil-A, Burger King, etc.  And, according to the speech videos I posted in January, he was using a few phrases, specifically his attempt at "excuse me" after burping and saying "Ready, set, go!"

February:  In February we had two setbacks and a huge victory.  Setback one: Our attempt at therapeutic riding was a bust, as Kiddo refused to get on the pony.  Kinda defeats the purpose of going to therapeutic riding if all you're going to do is feed and pet the pony and not, well, ride it.  Setback two: we attempted a gluten free diet, but something in the gluten free foods was causing him diarrhea and the pediatrician recommended we stop.  And the major victory?  Kiddo was potty trained in three days!!  I thought it was going to take longer than that, just because most skills take a long time to master with apraxia and I've read of apraxic children not being potty trained until 4 or 5, but at age 3 1/2 he was fully potty trained, (night time trained too!) in just three days.  Best victory ever.  :)

March: Both kiddos started to use more words.  And Kiddo was evaluated by a new occupational therapist, who turned out to be a major Godsend.  He has made so much progress working with her and she has been such a blessing to us.  

April: After going to several audiologists and ENTs in our area and not getting the answers I wanted regarding the pressure in Kiddo's middle ears, the increased frequency of ear infections, and whether or not he should be wearing his hearing aid, I took him to a well respected hearing clinic in the city an hour and a half away from us.  Finally got answers--tubes needed to go in pronto to relieve the pressure and to remove the fluid that had been causing the ear infections. Kiddo also started using three and even four word phrases.

May: Kiddo got his ear tubes in, and within no time we were noticing he was understanding more of what we were saying.  Yeah, uh better hearing helps with that.  We also learned that though he still has a severe hearing loss in his right ear, it was not recommended he wear his hearing aid anymore. Research indicates it's best to let the brain learn to compensate for the loss by relying on the good ear and not a hearing aid in the impaired ear.  We also celebrated the second annual Apraxia Awareness Day.

June: Kiddo turned four, whoo hoo!!!  And another setback, one I found devastating: we were supposed to go work with Jodi Kumar, awesome speech language pathologist at George Washington University Speech and Hearing Center.  She is the creator of CHAMP Camp, where we had taken Kiddo last summer and seen great results.  We had the hotel booked and everything, but Jodi had an accident while playing volleyball that required surgery the week she was supposed to work with Kiddo. I was glad to hear she was ok, but I was so disappointed that we wouldn't be working with her.  We went to the DC area anyway, to spend time with family for Kiddo's birthday and I made it a goal to work on those OT skills in play places and playgrounds while we were there. 

July: July was pretty relaxing as we had a lot less therapy appointments.  I went to CASANA, a conference for parents and speech therapists about working with kiddos with apraxia.  Learned a whole lot and got to meet some cool people, hang out with an apraxia mom friend I'd met at CHAMP Camp last summer, and I also got to meet Nancy Kaufman.  We also started Verbal Behavior Therapy, which I feel like Kiddo made LOTS of progress in, but that therapist was sadly only able to work with us for two months and we cannot find another one anywhere near us.

August: Little Brother turned two!  Both Kiddos made some progress with their speech: Little Brother was saying about 20 words, and Kiddo lots of two and three word phrases.  Kiddo was also participating in mini conversations, which always makes me smile.  We also went on an AMAZING family beach trip that was such a blessing to experience.

A selfie with both of my little blessings. :)

September: The new school year started, which meant more therapies through the school system.  We elected to not put Kiddo in a preschool this year, so that I could work with him myself, and we could use the money we were putting toward preschool toward the OT that we were seeing so much progress in instead.  But, this meant I had twice as many therapies to drive him too, and to chase Little Brother around their waiting rooms while Kiddo is in therapy, as opposed to just dropping him off at school where he got the therapies.  Life got real busy, real fast.

October: Little Brother was evaluated for speech and qualified for twice a month speech therapy through the county.   Kiddo had the privilege of working with the "Apraxia Queen" Nancy Kaufman and an awesome OT for four whole days at an apraxia intensive at the Kaufman Children's Center.  We both learned so much, and after the intensive Kiddo is now consistently saying 3 or 4 word phrases, and using final consonants on lots of words, whoo hoo! 

November: We experienced lots of slow and steady progress.

December: More slow and steady progress.  Kiddo's using verbs in his phrases now, like cry, work, clean, sleep, play, eat, and drink.  Some funny conversations.  A Christmas with my family, filled with excitement, in which the kiddos were able to tell us what they got.  Kiddo could read to us who the presents were to and who they were from.  He got a balance board to work on those gross motor skills and both kiddos got a ridiculous amount of other goodies to keep them plenty busy.

Honestly, sometimes I get overwhelmed with how far we still have to go.  Just a few days ago, I was crying to Hubster because Kiddo had only mastered four of the fifteen goals I set for him for this year.  The biggest one I had for him, 'Jumping', I want to see him do so badly, and we're not there yet.  But, he mastered the second goal I had for him, 'Potty Trained', in a record three days, whoo hoo!  He mastered my goal of him speaking in phrases, whoo hoo!  He now goes up and down slides like a champ, which wasn't even one of the goals I set for him, but is so awesome to see.  And while he hasn't mastered 11 goals, he's definitely made progress in them.  Hopefully we'll master them in 2015.

Ahh, see, perspective.  Gotta keep things in perspective, and that's what this blog does for me.  It reminds me that though the progress can be excruciatingly slow and the journey overwhelming and exhausting and expensive and full of worry, the progress is there and the journey worth continuing.  There are victories and blessings and joys and triumphs that we cherish because of the journey.  Kiddo's in a totally different place then he was last year.  So with a proper perspective I can truly say, yes, 2014 was a good year indeed.  And I can't wait to see what victories and progress are in store for us for 2015. 

1 comment:

  1. Yay, kiddos! Glad to see so much progress, due to their hard work, and your patience and persistence in practicing and finding them the help they need. Congratulations to you and hubster! I think 2015 will see great strides in their speech and physical abilities.